During a speech to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance yesterday, ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack confirmed that his company plans to drill five exploration wells on the North Slope this winter. The drilling, which will involve the use of three rigs, is fully funded, he said. However, conducting the drilling will require the completion of the necessary permitting. And one of the planned wells, the Putu well close to the village of Nuiqsut, will also need an agreement with the village, Marushack said.
Three of the wells, designed to further assess Willow, a major oil discovery in the northeast of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, will require the use of one of the rigs. Information from these wells will help ConocoPhillips decide whether Willow will be a standalone development, or whether Willow should be tied back to the existing CD-5 production pad, Marushack said.
The fifth well is planned for an exploration prospect south of CD-5.
Assuming that the well logs look good, ConocoPhillips plans to conduct tests in all of the wells. That could result in up to seven individual well penetrations and five well tests, Marushack said.
ConocoPhillips is also planning a 240-square-mile seismic survey, south of the Alpine oil field, in the coming winter. Success with this survey could open up 700,000 acres of new exploration potential, Marushack said.
- ALAN BAILEY
See story in Oct. 22 issue, available online Friday, Oct. 20 at www.PetroleumNews.com